Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  January 22, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

3:00 pm
[ >> from pacifica, this is democracy now!. president obama: i'll work to shut down the prison at guantanamo. it's unnecessary and serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies. amy: today marks seven years since president obama called for the closure of guantanamo bay within one year but it remains open and obama has a year left to fulfill his pledge. we'll speak to the legendary
3:01 pm
musician roger waters, co-founder of pink floyd. he first got involved to help ee the guantanamo prisoner shaka amir. >> his lead attorney from london received a letter from him where shaka describes how passive his techniques of staying sane in guantanamo was to remember songs and sing them and one of them was a song of mine called "hey you." amy: roger waters helped launch the countdown to close the guantanamo. then in a democracy now! exclusive, we look at the case of an undocumented guatemalan immigrant detained in the latest round of controversial raids. angel rosa is recovering from gain green which he said began when he was held in a filthy detention center and his family says he faces certain death if
3:02 pm
deported despite a request for humanitarian relief and we'll speak to the proclaimed poet and professor, martin espada, known as one of the leading latino poets of his generation. his latest collection of poetry has been released, "vivas to those who have failed'. all that and more coming up. . [captioning made possible by democracy now!] my: welcome to democracy now!., the war and peace report, i'm amy goodman. daniel holdsclaw has been sentenced to 233 consecutive years in prison for the cereal rapes of african women. in a packed courtroom the victims broke into song as they awaited the sentencing. ♪
3:03 pm
amy: the 263-year sentence came after judge timothy henderson denied holdsclaw's request for a new trial. in december an all white jury convicted him of 13 women that accused him and they targeted them during traffic stops and interrogation, forcing them to sexual acts in his police car or homes. they say he deliberately preyed on vulnerable black women from w income neighborhoods. he reportedly was under investigation by the sex crimes unit six weeks before his final crime. that means olds claw assaulted half the women he was convicted of attacking while under investigation. across the united states a recent associated press investigation covered about a thousand cases where police officers have lost their badges for sexual assaults or misconduct over a six-year
3:04 pm
period. after thentencing, johnny liggins, the first victim of officer holdsclaw's attacks to come forward said justice had been served. >> justice was served today. just know how glad i am and proud i am, especially for all the victims that have been tralm sized and all we rehad go through. amy: a top administrator resigned over the lead poisoned water in flint, michigan. the crisis began when the unelecd state appointment manager switched the source of the drinking water to the highly corrosive river. she oversaw the midwestern states, hedman is the latest official to step down, including the director of michigan's department of environmental quality, governor snyder's chief of staff and chief spokeswoman and the flint director of public works. michigan residents are calling for the resignation of governor rick snyder. many are also calling for his arrest. as many as 20 people have been
3:05 pm
killed in somalia's capital mogadishu after militants fired on diners in a restaurant and exploded two car bombs nearby. the somali forces took control of it this morning. in yemen, a u.s. saudi led strike on a oil facility has killed nine people and injured at least 30. the strike comes one day after thousands of yemeni women marched in the streets of the capital to decry the continued u.s. backed saudi led bombing campaign. one protester spoke out. were we say to the u.n. that over the last 300 days, the aggression has continued. children are getting killed. women are dying. and they have not reacted or done anything for 10 months. amy: more u.s. special forces have arrived in iraq to partner with iraqi troops in the fight against the self-proclaimed islamic state. the new deployment comes as the defense secretary ash carter
3:06 pm
met in paris with the defense ministers of france, germany, britain and australia and the netherlands on wednesday. today marks seven years since president obama issued the executive order to close guantanamo and comes as obama administration moves to suppss the ns of a prisoner being force fed. the judge ordered the tapes released in august of 2014 after 15 media organizations asked for them to be pead public but the obama administration appealed the order on thursday. in news from the financial industry, new documents showed jp morgan chase showed the c.e.o. jamie diamond received a 30% pay raise in 2013 earning $27 million. the pay hike came as a team of jp morgan economists issued a report warning the u.s. economy is increasingly vulnerable, estimating there's a 75% chance of new recession within the next three years. a federal appeals panel has rejected an effort by 27 states and coal companies to block president obama's new e.p.a.
3:07 pm
regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants, while a lawsuit makes its way through the courts. 27 states have sued the federal government over the plan which requires states to cut greenhouse gas pollution from the plans. thursday the appeals panel ruled states must begin to implement the regulations at least until the court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit hears the case in june. in california, officials have doubled the impact zone of the uncontrollable methane gas leak in the porter ranch neighborhood of los angeles. it's being called the nation's biggest environmental disaster since the b.p. oil spill. methane gas is a powerful greenhouse gas that accelerates climate change. the california govenor jerry brown did not mention the leak in his state of the state thursday but did speak about the need to address climate hange. governor brown: thankfully the rest of the world heard the message. humankind must change the ways
3:08 pm
and radically decarbonize the economy. the past agreement was a breakthrough. amy: meanwhile, california attorney general camilla harris has launched an investigation into whether exxonmobil repeatedly lied to the public and its shareholders about climate change. this follows multiple reports by the pulitzer prize winning climate news and "the los angeles times," revealing exxon knew fossil fuels caused global warming as early as the 1970's and hid the information from the public and poured millions in casting doubt on climate denial. the new york attorney general has laufpblged a criminal investigation. and the activist educator and video artist maria victory war maldanado died at the age of 54. victoria produced documentaries about social movements in latin america, telling stories the corporate media often avoided or distorted. she helped reveal the impact of u.s. policy in her native columbia. she also was a pioneer in the use of media as a therapeutic tool for sick children and
3:09 pm
their families, working at mount sinai hospital in new york for the past 25 years. victoria died saturday after a long battle with cancer. she survived by her daughter and her son, a former democracy now! video fellow, and her sband, media studies professor and wbai producer and former public affairs director and program director. those are some of the headlines this is democracy now!, democracy now. i'm amy goodman. onzalez.y i'm juan
3:10 pm
welcome detenon facility consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the united states and interests of justice, i hereby order. nd we then provide where guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now. juan: here we are in 2016, obama's last year in office began this week with guantanamo hanging over his presidency. seven years since his executive order. guantanamo bay remains open due to repeated republican obstruction and obama's refusal to take action on his own with the transfer of 10 prisoners last week and two more on thursday, the guantanamo prisoner population has fallen below 100 for the first time since the military prison turn to two mobilizing the th.
3:11 pm
closure from the grassroots. our first guest needs no introduction, the world famous british musician roger waters, founding member, the member of the iconic rock band pink floyd action and the band most well known for their record "the wall." for three years two 2010-2013 he toured the world with a dazzling concert of the same name. the wall tour featured the album performed in its entirety along with a massive production conveying anti-war themes and broke records as the highest grossing tour for a solo musician in history. roger waters is set to hit the road again for another world tour, this year to coincide with the release of his first new solo album in more than two decades. roger waters was one of the
3:12 pm
celebrities featured in the we stand with shaka campaign, the grassroots effort to win the freedom of shaka amir from guantanamo. he had been cleared for release since 2007 but the u.s. kept him locked up without charge until this past october. he was subjected to beatings, torture, to sleep deprivation, starvation and doused with freezing water and forced to stand for 18 hours at a time. for the campaign, rogers and other figures posed with photographs alongside a giant figure of shaka. people around the world submitted photos with homemade signs saying i stand with shaka. we're joined by andy actor ton, a british and served in the campaign, the author of guantanamo files, the author of 9 detainees in america's illegal prison. on wednesday roger waters and andy helped launch the countdown to close guantanamo
3:13 pm
signs for ke holding its closer before obama leaves in 2017. and last week they stopped by for the freedom and the closure. >> i got involved with shaka who his lead attorney in london ceived a letter from him where he describes part of his technique for staying sane in songs, mo was to sing especially my song "hey you." he wrote songs in the letter and clive forwarded the letter to me and i answered it and sent a letter to shaka and made video and i was immediately sucked in because this man has an extremely powerful and
3:14 pm
forceful personality and an extraordinary message of resilience and love for the rest of the world. and i was deeply moved by his letter, so i got involved in the campaign with andy and go mcginnis in london were running to have him released. amy: could you singh auction alo -- could you sing acapelo. >> getting hungry and old, can you feel me is the first line. in his letter he says those words and the krupplets that come after it, he says if you want to know how it feels to be incarcerated, shoe listen to this song because it describes my feelings which is very moving for me for him to say that. it's impossible for those of us who have not been incarcerated, as entirely innocent men with no recourse to the law, i mean,
3:15 pm
this is the fundamental problem with guantanamo and the law involved is that habeas corpus has been thrown out the window and we no longer have our fingertips on the grasp of the law that we've been used to for the last 800 years since magna carta in the fields of london. it's gone now and we don't have it and it's been removed from us and that's what's so important about guantanamo and all the work andy and joe are doing. amy: tell us about the campaign you waged, you know, when people see it in the media, a man released, they might think it's on the whim of one of his jailers, that say ok, he's free today but this is the result of a massive movement. roger: there was a grassroots campaign that had been running for years with people standing outside of parliament and just to keep reminding them. and we would hold parliamentary meetings every six months and that supported peace.
3:16 pm
jeremy corbyn and john mcdonald which are the very supporters all along and at with an of these meetings i was talking and trying to come up with an idea that might help us to grab the attention of the public, and i had this notion of a giant figure of shaka that would rise up behind the prime minister and government ministers wherever they went to raise -- essentially they used the elephant in the room when it came to discussions with the united states about things. of course you can't have a huge figure coming up behind the prime minister because his security people would arrest you immediately but the notion of a giant figure was really -- joe ann mcginnis was in the audience and liked the idea and we got it made and started approaching people and it could have gone either way and to be honest, when you come up with a gimmick, people are going to think it's ridiculous or they may go for it and people liked it. i think you had something like it that was larger than life
3:17 pm
whicheally isomethinghat reflectshat shakis le and just took f. we h -- at tame timee aunchedt the en of 14 there was support from the the in the u.k. and british "the british mail" got behind the campaign. amy: how did you get them behind the campaign? roger: they're not good on issues to deal with race but they are opposed to the use of torture and uphold the rule of law and made it an issue that theylso carebout habs corp like we do. amy:he presint made big deal of gun vionce and taking executive action because he can't get republican support in cushing the access to guns. do you think he should do the same thing in closing guantanamo, doing it with an executive order like he issued
3:18 pm
an executive order, first one in his presidency saying he'd close it by the end of the year. roger: i think he's still rying to work with congress. and i don't know if he'll manage that and nator mcin could wo with hiif he ca up with plan he led. am was a priner himself. ror: andhere's no guarant him nator main coul influencsome of eeople. if that otoesn't wk he absolutely needs to take the executive order route. roger: given in his state of the nation address he did actually get up on his behind legs and say how malign it was that the republicans and the right wing were singling out the muslim religion and he did say that he cannot lump all
3:19 pm
muslims together which is exactly what trump and cruz and the rest of the republican presidential hopefuls are doing. so i applaud him for saying that in national television in a important speech and has done the deal with iran. and obama has had a pretty hard road to hoe during his incumbency as the president and clearly the machinery of government that he's trying to ork alongside is broken and is susceptible to financial considerations after citizens united as we all know so yes, let's try and encourage him. he's got 365 days from today until he leaves office. and his plan is let's get guantanamo closed before the end of that time and it's fundamentally important that
3:20 pm
every citizen of the united states of america that we, though i'm not a citizen but i live here and care about this country but we return to the rule of law. it's taken many years to develop it and every civilized society has to have law with which we abide. we cannot be ruled by the donald trumps and ted cruz's of his world. so please let's close it by the end of your presidency and would be a great way to finish. amy: roger waters, you're a british citizen and live in this country, two of the leading world and war powers, president obama is now presiding over the longest war in u.s. history in afghanistan and the middle east is exploding right now. you're about to go on a world album in our new solo
3:21 pm
two decade. onlier: it's unlikely i'll start touring this year. it takes a long time. it took me 10 months to put together the world tour and i still have to finish making the record. but yes, it is my determination. amy: and the record will be called? roger: i'm not sure yet. amy: will it be around war? roger: it will be about peace and love. it will be my concern for the children of the world and how they're being slaughtered willy-nilly by whoever it is that runs everything. you know, i don't want to go all deep state on you but this whole charade is being controlled. i'm not suggesting conspiracies but it is being controlled by a group of important elements, the banks, wall street, the pentagon, the n.s.a., the c.i.a., the this, the that, the other, the u.k. conservative policies all over
3:22 pm
the world, control the way that we all live. and it is very important that we try to rest control back to the people so we need to educate. we need an educated electorate confronting the problems that lead to the children of the world, all of them, all the children all off the world, not living in an atmosphere of peace and love which is what they deserve and which is what we have to bring to them andy and joe with the work with shaker and guantanamo is fundamental to that, more general, and more general work we need to focus on is my view. amy: andy worthington, you launched the campaign, what are you doing to achieve this? andy: we set off the campaign four years ago with the u.s. attorney who represented the guantanamo prisoners in the supreme court cases in habeas
3:23 pm
corpus in 2004 and 2008. as we now approach the last year of the obama presidency we decided it would be a good idea to countdown, drawing on the things we learned from the we stand with shaker campaign and to draw in both celebrities and ordinary people so they can make their voices heard. we're asking people to visit the website, closegaughan dawn to get a moster and ake a photo. and you see from some of the photos we're showing here. amy: tell us about some of the celebrities. andy: roger of course is involved. we have mark riland, the actor and it's just a start. they're going mad to get people involved and we're hoping it will be able to do the same thing we do with shaker amer but for the whole of guantanamo and raise people's awareness of
3:24 pm
what's happening through celebrity support which helps get the word out to people but giving people the opportunity to say they're opposed to it and to provide a few words themselves about why they need to see guantanamo closed. and we'll have the posters that we'll count down every 50 days and try to organize events throughout the year and helping support president obama in getting the place closed. amy: andy worthington and pink floyd founder roger waters, just stopped by our studios last week to discuss their campaign to close guantanamo. this is democracy now!. democracy now!, the war and peace report, i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we'll be back in a minute.
3:25 pm
music break] >> ♪ we shall overcome one day ♪
3:26 pm
>> ♪ we'll walk hand in hand every faith and every man ne day ♪ deep in my heart ♪ i do believe that we shall overcome some day ♪ amy: that's roger waters performing "we shall overcome" accompanied by alexander reatin by cello in the democracy now! studio and go to the website to watch the whole song at the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to the case of an undocumented immigrant
3:27 pm
who faces deportation after he says he suffered a gangrene infection of his scrotum while held in a filthy cell in a detention center in utah. democracy now! first learned about the case of angel rosa when he was detained this past friday by armed federal agents at his home in hyrum, utah. he also is a 55-year-old father of four u.s. born children and six u.s. born grandchildren. his arrest came amid nationwide raids, mostly targeted central american immigrants for deportation. since then, here's what we've confirmed. rosa first came to the united states in the mid 1980's and has entered without permission at least three times. in 2012, he was charged with a criminal offense for illegal entry. he appears to have been targeted in part because he had a decade old criminal record for assaulting a minor. his son during an incident in which his family said the prescription medication rosa with en reacted badly
3:28 pm
alcohol and police were called. since then he's been a sober and loving father. amy: after he pled guilty and was convicted of illegal re-entry in 2012 he ended up in a utah county jail south of salt lake city in spanish fork. the facility has a contract with immigration and customs enforcement or ice. in december of 2014 he said guards put him in a cell with a broken toilet that overflowed with feces and didn't allow him to shower and was placed in solitary confinement for the broken toilet and at some time he caught a infection of gangrene and began in his tess particularals and caused his rectum to swell shut and his intestines became infected. he does not speak english and only after another inmate who did speak english told the guard about rosa's urgent medical situation that he was examined and taken to an outside hospital. he was told to sipe documentation so if needed doctors could surgically remove his testes.
3:29 pm
ultimately he was not castrated and left sterile. too sick for detention he had regular check-ins with immigration authorities and wore a electronic monitoring device on his ankle. for the past year he tried to comply with these conditions and authorities disagreed and this past friday he was taken back into detention. he's appealing his pending deportation from jail. the doctor who treated him from gangrene submitted a letter to suggest he's not fit for travel. we're joined by three guests in salt lake city, utah, lorena rosa is with us, his daughter, an 18-year-old high school senior and played a key role in nursing her father back to health and got permission to do homeschooling when they are father needed the most detention in recovery. every other friday for the past year she drove him to regular check-ins with his immigration officer. also joining us from hartford, connecticut is mark reid, senior parallel at the thomas rome law group in connecticut and has been helping his family
3:30 pm
with immigration and played a key role in stopping the deportation so far and he's a permanent resident of the united states, originally from jamaica. in 2014, he successfully won his own release from detention and with us is renee feltz, former producer, spent more than a decade reporting from immigrant detention centers and is the first to report on angel rosa's allegations he contracted gangrene in his scrotum during detention and is facing detention. we welcome you all. let's go to lorena in salt lake city. thank for you joining us and taking this time. lorena, talk about what happened on friday. lorena: on friday, i go and got in to school early and i was barely getting home. i came in, i saw my dad getting out of the shower. he was washing the dishes getting ready to drink his coffee. i went into my room and out of
3:31 pm
nowhere i heard a big bang bursting, opening the door and i saw my dad running into the living room and i heard him calling my name and i ran into the kitchen and i saw them handcuffing my dad with shield and guns surrounding the whole trailer. and i was scared. i didn't know what to do. and i was asking them what's going on. and they're like, your dad is under arrest. i'm like why? and they're like we can't give you any more information. if you want the information, go to court and ask for them. and i asked them, where are you taking him? and they said in a jail nearby. and they didn't even know the address so i had to call my lawyer to see where he was exactly. and after that, they just finished surrounding the house and they came in to check who was in the house. and i asked them, i was like what kind of permission do you have to come into my house just
3:32 pm
like this? and they told me if you want to see the report to call the court and they'll let me see it. juan: you had been assisting your father since he was released. could you talk about the experiences you had during the time he's been released from the time he got ill? lorena: when he got ill it was a horrible experience for a teen my age. i was a junior at that time. he had a lot of doctor's appointments and a lot of nurses that he had to go through. so i asked permission to be homeschooled for just one try so i would be available for him to take him to all those doctor appointments. and he had a nurse come in every other day that he didn't have a doctor's appointment. it was a really rough time because it was hard for him. he was so traumatized it was hard for him to eat. his sugar was high. he would always look so pale
3:33 pm
and he would be fainting a couple times and he would be in emergency rooms, instacare and it was a really tough time for me and my family. amy: so he was released, lorena, so he could deal with the gangrene. we have the photographs. we won't show them. they are so horrific. can you describe what his recovery has been like and what you think will happen if he is deported? lorena: his infection was horrible. and ever since he has that surgery, he hasn't been the same. anything that upsets him with immigration, because immigration is attacking him and attacking him. and when they do, his bloop goes -- his blood pressure goes really high and his sugar drops. and if he does get deported, i know guatemala won't have the medical attention he needs here and the infection always comes
3:34 pm
back and is always on top of his skin. and i know if he does get deported, he won't survive. that's what we're scared of. juan: i want to read a letter by angel rosa's doctor that he submitted to ice for humanitarian relief. dr. james matthews writes he's been treating rosa for a groin testicular infection that occurred several times and at one point required hospitalization and surgery this year and has had several occurrences of the infection and he goes on to write it is my professional opinion he should remain where his family and medical care are available, specifically in the cache county, utah, area. mark reid, how you got involved with this case, can you talk about that, your involvement and what you've done? mark: we got involved in this case approximate, you know, over a year now, which was referred to us by one of our
3:35 pm
colleagues in utah. vanessa juarez. we've been fighting with immigration and customs enforcement right now to try to get angel some type of stay of deportation because of the nature of his infection. we realized that if mr. rosa gets deported to guatemala, he won't have the medical care. he won't have the support of his family. he can't fend for himself. he's not able to work. so in our professional opinion, mr. angel rosa will be facing persecution. amy: this is how the board of immigration appeals explained why it denied angel rosa's request to reopen his asylum or withholding proceedings. the ruling was on november 24, 2015. the applicant seeks the opportunity to apply for humanitarian asylum based on contraction of gangrene while in d.h.s. custody. however, the applicant is withholding only proceedings and thus is ineligible for a grant of humanitarian asylum,
3:36 pm
unquote. interestingly, the ruling notes, quote, while we're sympathetic to the applicants situation, a request for a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion must be directed to d.h.s. let's bring in renee to this conversation. democracy now! criminal justice correspondent. you've been following this case, exposed what's been happening with angel rosa. renee: right. well, amy, there's so many reasons one person can be denied asylum or when you request humanitarian relief and mark can go into that. when i looked into the case i thought is it the standard story of someone who had a long history of entering the country without permission, maybe a criminal record, we can talk more about that. and therefore is not in a very good legal position to stay here. but when i looked a little bit deeper and i saw his illness that he had suffered and the fact that mr. rosa didn't sue ice this year when he was
3:37 pm
released and was just trying to simply recover. amy: he contracted this gangrene in the detention facility. renee: right. and he was simply trying to go to his check-ins and appeared he was trying to follow the rules of his release. so i started to wonder why exactly is he being targeted now. i tried to confirm as much as possible about what we've reported so far. we're the first ones to do so. i was able to speak with ice, too, an immigration spokesperson yesterday and they were unable to tell me anything in terms of confirming what we've reported because he hasn't yet signed a privacy release form. it's hard for me to get that to him while he's in the cache county jail. i also spoke with a researcher of human rights watch and she's looking into the issue of medical neglect and medical care in general for immigrant detainees and she interviewed angel rosa in september last year and briefly, he told her
3:38 pm
that his infection first developed when he was placed in the solitary cell after his toilet broke in his cell. so i do have to some extent conformed from angel directly what happened to him, not just through his daughter and through his attorney. i want to say one other thing when i started looking at this facility, it's in spanish fork, utah, the utah county jail. people may wonder why he's in a cell, why is he in a jail? it's a facility that ice contracts with. and so there are immigrants held there. interestingly, to keep our time line straight, he was ill in 2014. i looked up ice's own death records for detainees and this facility actually in spanish fork had a death. in fact, i can read a little bit here about it in july 12, 2014, ice records show shall santiago sierra sanchez died after he was detained in the
3:39 pm
utah county jail in spanish fork, utah. the cause of death was aureus infection. he was a mexican national and when he was entered into the facility angel rosa was, like everybody, they're supposed to receive a screening when they enter, a medical screening. and either they didn't catch this infection if he had it when angel went in or the staph infection mr. sanchez had. they didn't catch it or they caught it after they were there. juan: and mark reid, what are the options now or what can be done in mr. rosa's case? mark: we're actually waiting for -- we filed for a stay of removal and we also filed a motion to reopen based on new evidence. so now that motion is actually pending at the board of immigration appeals.
3:40 pm
amy: so renee, in your covering, putting this in context, the immigration raids that have been taking place, what kind of recourse does he have now? response s of ice's to you yesterday, how typical is it? you got one call after another from them when they heard you were looking in this case, wouldn't you, and they wouldn't come on the show. renee: you simply could say ice was being responsive and the spokesperson was doing their job and that's great but they're not the most responsive agency generally for journalists and in fact they weren't able to really tell me that much. but, you know, i appreciated them getting back with me. but it does seem he's on their radar in many ways. and in terms of what mr. rosa has in terms of option, like mark said, they're still working on his case and asking for a humanitarian release. and i wonder, as obama,
3:41 pm
president obama pushes back to say that he's trying to do the right thing with deportations and target the right people, shall we say, and that he's using his executive order to suggest prosecutorial discretion in these cases, i wonder if they'll now look at this case with a little bit more discretion. amy: and lorena, final words as out y to get your father of detention and prevent his deportation? that : i can honestly say they're looking, attacking the wrong person. my dad has been a wonderful father since he's been out of jail. my dad when he gets home, all he does is read the bible and he supports us in so many ways. my dad, if he sees that you're cold, he'll literally take his sweater off in this weather and give it to you.
3:42 pm
he would give you his plate for you to eat if you're starving. and honestly, i think immigration is attacking the wrong person, and that's all i have to say. amy: lorena, thanks so much for being with us. i know you have to go to high school now. lorena rosa, her father, angel rosa, is fighting deportation. mark reid, thanks for joining us from hartford, connecticut, parallel at the thomas rome law group and renee, thanks for your reporting, democracy now! criminal justice correspondent. renee: democracy now!'s team will be in utah next week and maybe we can continue to follow this if mr. rosa is out and interview him there. amy: that's right. we'll continue to follow this there. this is democracy now!. when we come back, martin espada the poet joins us. ♪
3:43 pm
♪ music break] ♪
3:44 pm
y: this emocracyow!, e war anpeace rort. m amy gooan with an goalez. an: we e today'show with e acclaid peoplsoet main espada. he's been coared to others and is widely known as a latino poet of his generation. his latest collection of poetry has been released, called "vivas to those who have failed'. the title taken from a line by walt whitman. espada begins his collection with a tribute to the 1913 patterson silk strike when a group of mostly immigrant
3:45 pm
workers in new jersey fought for improved working conditions and an eight-hour day. amy: espada goes on to address struggles and injustices to the president day including police killings of unarmed african-americans in the mass shootings. martin espada pays tribute to his late father, the legendary photojournalist and teacher and activist frank espada, born in puerto rico in 1930 he worked for decades documenting the civil rights movement in the united states. frank espada died in 2014. martin espada joins us now. the acclaimed poet and professor at the university of massachusetts, amherst, won the american book award and has been nominated for the pulitzer prize, his new collection of poetry is just out, "vivas to those who have failed'. it's great to have you with us, martin. martin: thank you. amy: good you talk, could you share a poem because that is you talking to the world. martin: sure. this is indeed a poem about police violence against people
3:46 pm
of color. your audience will recognize many of the cases to which i refer and called how we could have lived or died this way. not songs of loyalty alone are these. but songs of insurrection also. for i am the sworn poet of every dauntless rebel the world ver. walt whitman. i see the dark skinned bodies falling in the street as their ancestors fell before the whip and steel, the last blood pooling, the last breath spitting. i see the immigrant street vendor flashing his wallet to the cops, shot so many times there are bullet holes in the soles of his feet. i see the death wood carver and his pocketknife crossing the street in front of a cop who yells and then fires. i see the drug raid, the wrong door kicked in, the minister's hard seizing up.
3:47 pm
i see the man hawking a fist full of cigarettes, the cop's chokehold makes his wheezing lungs stop wheezing forever. i am in the crowd, at the window, neiling beside the body left on the asphalt for hours. i see the suicides. the conga player handcuffed for drumming on the subway, hanged in the jail cell with his hand cuffed behind him, the suspect leaking blood in his chest in the back seat of the squad car, the 300-pound boy said to stampede barehanded into the bullets drilling his forehead. i see the coroner nodding, the words typed in his report burroing into the skin like more bullets. i see the government investigations stacking, words buzzing on the page, then suffocated as bees suffocate in a jar. i see the next black man
3:48 pm
fleeing as the fugitive slave once fled the slave catcher shot in the back for a broken taillight. i see a cop handcuff the corpse. i see the rebels marching, hand upraised before the riot squads, faces in bandanas against the tear gas. and i walk beside them unseen. i see the poets who will write the songs of insurrection generations unborn will read or hear a century from now, words that make them wonder how we could have lived or died this way, how the descendants of slaves still fled and the descendants of slave catchers still shock them and how we awoke every morning without the blood of the dead sweating from every pore. juan: that's martin espada reading to us how we could have lived or died this way. martin, i want to ask so much of your poetry is dealing with
3:49 pm
the politics and the reality, the social conditions of our time, how you first decided that this was part -- the vision of your poetry? martin: i grew up with it. i grew up in an activist household. i grew up in my father's household, resistance was as natural as breathing. i was surprised when i went into the world and discovered that not everybody was raised the way i was. so when it turned to the writing of poetry, quite naturally it turned to poetry about social justice. that's how i was raised. juan: and you mentioned your father. of course i knew him for many years. i was inspired by him as well. you talk about he was arrested in 1949 in biloxi, mississippi, for refusing to sit in the back of the bus. i didn't know that even though i've known frank for many years. martin: oh, yes, that happened. and he was always raising hell and that was his advice to everybody. amy: you wrote a magnificent
3:50 pm
poem about your dad. could you share that with us? martin: absolutely. this is the poem i read at his memorial service and called el morivivi. the meaning of that term will become apparent. el mo, ivivi. frank espada, 1930-2014. spat spanish means. i died. i lived. in puerto rico, the leaves of el morivivi close in the dark and open at first light. the fronds curl at a finger's touch and then unfurl again. my father, a mountain born of mountains, as tall as puerto rican and new york who scraped doorways, who could crack the walls with the rumble of his voice hipped on morivivi growing in his ribs, he would die and then live. my father spoke in the tongue of el morivivi, teaching me the
3:51 pm
parable of joe fleming who screwed his lit cigarette into the arms of a spics he caught flapping like fish. my father was a bony boy, the nerves in his back crushed by the coolant laced company and the load he lifted too many flights of stairs. three times he would meet to brawl for a crowd after school. the first time my father opened his eyes to grovel at the shoes of his enemy. the second time he rose and dug his arm up to the elbow in the monster's belly so badly he wanted to tear out the heart and eat it. the third time, fleming did not show up and the boys with cigarette burns clocked the spindly champion on the back all the way down the street. fleming would become a cop, fired for breaking bones in too many faces. he died smoking in bed, a sheet of flame up to his chin. there was morivivi sprouting in
3:52 pm
my father's chest. he would die and then live. he spat up obscenities line sunflower seeds to the driver that told him to sit in the back of the bus in mississippi and then slid his cap over his eyes and fell asleep. he spent a week in the jail called the best week of his life, strode to the jailhouse doors and sat behind the driver of the bus on the way out of town, his air force uniform all that kept the noose from his neck. he would come to know the jailhouse again among hundreds of demonstrators fairied by police to hart island on the east river with the city of new york stacks the coffins of anonymous and still born bodies. here confederate prisoners once wept for the stars and bars, now the prisoners sang freedom songs. the jailers outlawed phone calls so we were sure my father must be a body like the bodies ruling waterlogged in the east river. but he came back from the
3:53 pm
island of the dead, black hair combed meticulously. when the riots burned in brooklyn night after night, my father was a peacemaker on the corner with a mega phone, a fiery chunk of concrete fell from the sky and missed his head by inches. my mother would tell me, your father is out dodging bullets. he spoke at a rally with incantatory th word through the crowd, lifting hands and faces. teach, they cried. my father clipped a photograph of malcolm as he meant to hear a question with his finger near the chin and two months later the assassin stampeded the crowd to shoot malcolm, blood leaping from his chest as he fell. my father would die, too, but then he would live again. after every riot, every rally, every arrest, every night in jail, the change from his pockets landing hard on the
3:54 pm
dresser at 4:00 a.m. every time i swore he was gone for good. my father knew the secrets of el morivivi, that he would die, then live. he drifted off at the wheel, drove into a guardrail shook his head and walked away without a web of scars or fractures. he passed out from the heat in the subway, toppled on to the tracks, and somehow missed the third rail. he tied a white apron across his waist in a grocery store, pulled a revolver from the counter to startle the gangsters demanding protection and then put up signs for a clearance sale as soon as they went out with their hands in the air. when the family took a vacation in the mountains of the hudson valley, a hotel with waiters in roof ackets and the exploded in flame as if the ghost of joe fleming and his cigarette trailed us everywhere and it was then that my father
3:55 pm
appeared in the smoke like a general leading the charge in battle, shouting commands at the volunteer fire company, steering the water from the hoses, his heels immune to death by fire or water as if he wore the crumbled leaves of el morivivi in amulel slung around miss neck. el rother called to say moivivi was on. my father tore at the wires, the electrodes, the i.v. saying he wanted to go home. the hospital was a jailhouse in mississippi. that fired ulse his heart in every fight flooded the chambers of his heart. the doctors scrutinized the film in the grainy shadows and the light that never could be seen. my father was el morivivi. he died, he lived.
3:56 pm
he dies, he lives. juan: that's frank espada and el morivivi. for those not familiar with it, could you explain what it is? martin: in latin, it's a tropical weed and shrinks from contact and it also closes in the dark and opens in the light. so it became the ideal metaphor for me for the many lives, deaths and rebirths of frank espada who has died and now he's back. amy: spoke at a malcolm rally, malcolm x. martin: he did, through the end of 1964. my father was a documentary photographer and found something called the puerto rican documentary project. and he photographed malcolm after the rally. juan: and he once gave me one
3:57 pm
of his most famous photograph, the photograph of malcolm that you mentioned, once gave me a copy of it i still have on my wall. martin: he photographed many activists. he photographed you. juan: me, my sister, all the folks. and he went across the united states to hawaii, to puerto rican communities that a lot of people didn't know about to capture the leaders and the struggles of those communities. frank: and within the art of photographer he -- photography but every aspect of his life my father was an activist. we often hear the phrase the greatest generation in reference to mostly white males who fought during world war ii. well, for the puerto rican community, my father's generation was the greatest generation, whether we're talking about frank espada, jack or others. activists born in the 1930's and raised hell in the 1960's
3:58 pm
and we should still follow their example, raising hell when we can. amy: you knew james foley as a student, right, who was beheaded by isis. we're going to the sundance film festival and his family will be there. how did you know him, martin? martin: he was a student of mine at the university of massachusetts. he got an mfa in fiction there and i was on his committee. but more importantly, i referred james foley to a place called the care center in holyoke. it's an alternative education program for adolescent mothers, mostly puerto rican who dropped out of the school system there. jim foley taught english to spanish speakers there. that's who jim was. he was compassionate. he was always trying to do the right thing. amy: we want to thank you for being with us. martin espada, the great award-winning writer and professor at the university of massachusetts, amers. numerous books including the republic of poetry which is a finalist for the you will itser prize and his new collection
3:59 pm
called "vivas to those who have failed'. and that does it for our broadcast. we have two job openings, director of finance operations and director of development. go to and i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. i'm thanking you for being with us.
4:00 pm
i'm john cleese. it seems that beneath all the apparent differences that separate the world's religions, there's a deep undercurrent that points towards what is called oneness or unity consciousness, the single indivisible essence of all creation. to get some further understanding of this, we're going to explore the concept from both the mystical and the scientific perspectives with an east indian physicist and a british mystic. so settle back, take a slow, deep breath as we join our trusted guide and host, phil cousineau, on this fascinating episode of global spirit,


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on